How to Rip Narrow Boards With a Circular Saw?

Do you own a circular saw and ever wondered to yourself if you can rip narrows boards with it?

It might be that you only have a circular saw to use and no other options.

Well, today you have come to the right place to find out more about this topic.

The process doesn’t need to be difficult, but people often fail because it’s awkward and uncomfortable. That is perfectly fine, and you are going to notice with practice, it becomes easier.

In this article, you learn how to prepare the narrow board so that you can easily cut it without any mishaps.

Once you are done with this article, you are going to be ripping a narrow board with a circular saw quickly.

Items You’ll Need

Here is a list of items you need before getting started:

With these items, you are ready to begin the process of ripping your narrow board.

Preparation Phase

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, which is ever so true when cutting a narrow board with a circular saw. First things first, you need to protect yourself. Any safety gear that you have needs to be fitted correctly.

Shield your eyes by putting on glasses and protect your hands by wearing a good pair of gloves. Your safety is imperative when handling such a tricky task.

After that, get all your things together and get ready to cut your board. Make sure that everything is nearby before you start. This way, you eliminate any ups and downs during the process.

Get Your Work Table Ready and Draw Cut Lines

Make sure that your worktop is clean and has no obstructions on top of it. It needs to belong and should be wider than the piece of wood you are cutting.

When you have a stable platform, it helps prevent any unnecessary slippage of the board. If not noted, that could be disastrous, so please make sure your work table is anchored and firm.

Start by attaching your narrow board to the table with the clamps, aligning it perfectly so that you can now mark out the cut lines.

Use clamps that are going to hold the wood firmly. You don’t want to be halfway through sawing, and the piece of lumber flies off.

From here, you can go ahead and mark out your cut lines. Use a tape measure to determine how long they need to be and how far from the edges they must be situated.

It’s a good idea to test this on a trial piece of wood so that you can feel how it feels to cut a narrow board with a circular saw.

Adjusting the Height of The Blade

It is imperative to have the correct blade height when cutting your board. This can be tested on sacrificial pieces of wood while you are perfecting your technique.

The blade needs to be in line with your narrow board so that you don’t rip it. It is a slow process when finding the sweet spot that you need to cut without damaging the wood.

Would you please not rush this step and adjust the blade as you see fit? That is going to help you get the best cut and find success with ripping your narrow board.

Once you have found the perfect height, you can go ahead and start cutting your pilot lines on the board.

Ripping Narrow Board with a Circular Saw

It’s time the start cutting, so be sure that everything is safe and secure. Once all safety checks have been completed, you can begin the process.

Be sure that the saw blade is tightly fitted and in the correct position to cut the narrow piece of board. You would have taken care of this when you adjusted the blade height.

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Now, hold the circular saw with a solid grip and position on the line that you drew. If you are dealing with a slightly thicker board, it is a good idea to first cut a thin line on top instead of ripping through the boards and causing possible injury.

You can start to make minor cuts first to make any necessary adjustments and proceed to cut the wood perfectly.

This method can be learned with practice and is most used by advanced woodworkers to rip narrow boards easily.

Beginners Method

If you have access to a circular saw table, this is going to be one of the easiest ways to cut your narrow board.

It would be best to start out securing your saw firmly to the table with the clamps provided. The same goes for blades during this method. Be sure to set the correct blade height and test it out on a piece of sacrificial wood.

Again, you can take your time with this as it is an essential step in the whole process. Once blade height is determined, you can mark out your wood with a tape measure.

Slowly slide the board along the table towards the blade, letting it rip inch by inch. Do not rush the cut, as you can cause more harm than good. 

Proceed to cut your narrow board and finish the job by making sure you cut in a straight line.

Final Thoughts

Cutting a narrow board is no easy feat. It takes some practice and patience to get it right, so be prepared to sacrifice some wood in the process.

Being meticulous helps to make the cutting job more manageable, as the more attention to detail you pay, the straighter your cut is going to be.

When cutting narrow boards, preparation is vital. Making sure that you have all appropriate equipment close by and lines drawn is imperative to success.

Following the instructions in the guide, you are going to be ripping a narrow board with your circular saw in no time.

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.